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Turkey buries latest bomb victims

Family members mourn the death of Ahmet Dama, a Turk killed in the British consulate bombing.
Family members mourn the death of Ahmet Dama, a Turk killed in the British consulate bombing.

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The British Foreign Office has issued a telephone number for anyone wanting news of friends or relatives who might have been caught up in the blasts.

The number to call is
+44 (0)20 7008 0000
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• Gallery: Scenes from explosions 

Acts of terror

ISTANBUL, Turkey (CNN) -- Turkey began burying those killed in the twin attacks on British interests in Istanbul, as the death toll rose to at least 30.

The number of victims killed in the bomb attacks on the UK Consulate and an HSBC office has risen from 27 to 30, health department officials said Friday.

Meanwhile Turkish authorities arrested several people in connection with Thursday's attacks, which also injured about 450 people. Officials are investigating several claims of responsibility from militant groups and organizations with links to al Qaeda.

But Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul added: "I think it's too early to say anything about the results of the investigations," Gul added, giving no further details.

The attacks were the second set in Istanbul this week, following simultaneous strikes on two synagogues last Saturday in which 25 people were killed. (Full story)

U.S. President George W. Bush said Turkey -- a Muslim country with a secular constitution, trying to join the European Union -- is now "a front."

"Iraq is a front. Turkey is a front," he said before he departed the UK at the end of his three-day state visit. (Full Story)

"Anywhere the terrorists think they can strike is a front."

UK Foreign Minister Jack Straw and his Turkish counterpart visited the bomb sites.

Three of the dead in Thursday's bombings were British citizens, including UK consul general Roger Short. But the bulk were local citizens.

Straw said Britain would help Turkey fight further threats of terrorism. "This was as much an attack on the Turkish people as it was on British interests," he said.

He added the attacks bore the hallmarks of Osama bin Laden's terrorist network. "It appears to be have been perpetrated by al Qaeda and its associates, and I stand by that statement."

The Turkish government said it received a joint claim of responsibility from al Qaeda and a Turkish Islamic militant group, the Great Eastern Islamic Raiders' Front (IBDA-C), for Thursday's bombings.

Gul said his country would not be deterred by the latest attacks. "Turkey will certainly not bow to terror," he said. "We hope this is the beginning of a new era in fighting terrorism globally."

Britain, the United States and Australia -- allies in the Iraq war -- have warned their citizens against non-essential visits to Turkey amid concerns of further attacks. (Warning of more attacks in Turkey)

However, Straw insisted that acts of terrorism should not stop people from traveling to the country. "We are not advising not to travel to Turkey. ... Turkey is a safe country," he said.

On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution condemning the bombings.

The resolution speaks of the "need to combat by all means" threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts and asks all states to "cooperate in efforts to find and bring to justice the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of these terrorist attacks."

Turkey is a supporter of the U.S.-led fight against terrorism and has relations with Israel.

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